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Tlaib Criticized for Tweeting Retracted Story of Israeli Settlers “Burning” Palestinian Land

The Jerusalem Post reported that both the Samaria Regional Council and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have claimed that it was Palestinians who set the farmland ablaze, and Israeli settlers came to help put out the fires.
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May 6, 2021
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is being criticized on Twitter for sharing a since-retracted story accusing Israeli settlers of burning Palestinian land.

Tlaib tweeted on May 5, “Stealing Palestinian homes and burning their lands. The actions of an apartheid state. We cannot stand by and watch this happen. @SecBlinken, billions of U.S. taxpayers dollars support Netanyahu’s government and this racist violence. We must condemn this swiftly.”

In a subsequent tweet, she linked to a story from Middle East Eye, a London-based outlet that has reported ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, alleging that Israeli settlers burned farmland in Burin, a Palestinian West Bank village.

However, The Jerusalem Post reported that both the Samaria Regional Council and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have claimed that it was Palestinians who set the farmland ablaze, and Israeli settlers came to help put out the fires; altercations later broke out between the settlers and the Palestinians. B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, was among those who first claimed the fires were sparked by settlers, but it later retracted their claim and said in a statement they are reexamining the claims. Consequently, the Samaria Regional Council said they planned to sue B’Tselem for defamation.

“.@RashidaTlaib, you shared a falsehood about Israeli Jews setting fire to Palestinian fields,” the American Jewish Committee tweeted. “This ugly claim has been retracted. You’re a member of Congress. Take down your tweet. Or is it okay to perpetuate untruths when they fit your policy agenda?”

 

George Washington University student Blake Flayton, an avowed progressive Zionist, tweeted to Tlaib, “You want to raise awareness about settler violence? Please do. But you’re a sitting congresswoman sharing retracted news. Please delete.”

 

Ari Ingel, director of Creative Community For Peace, tweeted to Tlaib that Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO consisting of veteran IDF soldiers, was, like B’Tselem, among those that first claimed that Israeli settlers set the fires. But the executive director of Breaking the Silence has since clarified that “it may have actually been Palestinian youths who set the fires,” Ingel noted.

Stop Antisemitism also tweeted, “A Palestinian terrorist MURDERED a 19 year old Jewish student. Comments on that or do you prefer to remain on your lie filled apartheid rant that has been debunked by the U.S. [Department] of State?”

Stop Antisemitism was referencing Yehuda Guetta, who was shot and killed by a Palestinian terrorist in a drive-by shooting on May 2. Guetta had been studying religious seminary in the Itamar settlement. Two other students were also injured in the attack.

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